Miami Beach Considers Legalizing Alcohol Sales on Beach

Commissioners consider plan to legalize beach booze sales

Wednesday, Mar 13, 2013  |  Updated 9:05 AM EDT
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A college student reaches for his beer as he relaxes on South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida.

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Drinking alcohol on Miami Beach may soon be a lot easier as commissioners consider allowing ocean-side sales.

Miami Beach's Neighborhood and Community Affairs Committee wants to legalize "the sale, service, possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages within designated approved beach concession" areas, according to the Miami Herald.

City staff have recommended moving forward with the plan, but an approval by the City Commission would only authorize staffers to begin talks with Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association to come up with new rules regulating the sale of alcohol.

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The issue had been up for discussion at a commission meeting Wednesday but it was lter deferred and will not be heard Wednesday.

Under the plan, alcohol would have to be consumed in designated areas and could only be purchased from licensed sellers. No to-go drinks would be allowed and beachgoers wouldn't be allowed to bring coolers.

"We’re not talking about expansion, and setting up renegade bars on the beach. ...We’re talking about something that’s been going on for umpteen years," Commissioner Jerry Libbin told the Herald Tuesday.

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Hotels currently ferry drinks to patrons lounging on the beach, even though City Attorney Jose Smith has said it goes against city code. But enforcement was put on hold as the city decided what to do.

Under the new proposal, the hotels would be legally liable if they serve alcohol, Libbin said.

"You can’t serve too much alcohol. You have to keep the place clean. You’ll be legally liable," he said.

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